Author Wes Ferguson contacted me in autumn of 2014 to talk about commissioning a map for his book The Blanco River. The book was slated for publication in 2015–and then came the Memorial Day floods.
Two years later, after Wes completely reworked the manuscript, I’m thrilled to be holding the book in my hands with our map handsomely printed on the endpapers. I read the book in its entirety in manuscript form. At first it was my way to get a grip on the geology and geography of the river. Wes introduces local scientists, landowners, and conservation experts and shares their knowledge. Before you know it, you feel like you understand the complex systems that contribute to making a river. I kept reading and burned through the whole manuscript because it’s just that compelling. I love Wes’s storytelling voice and the way he combines science and history with an artist’s eye for detail and an East Texan’s love of fishing holes, humor, and local characters.
The map I made shows every tributary of the Blanco, a gorgeous aqua-blue gem running 87 miles through Texas’s Hill Country. A stratigraphic profile, simplified from the reports of hydrologists Wes interviewed, helps explain the river’s color and its habit of disappearing underground and re-emerging downstream. Insets show the Blanco water’s path to the Gulf and its underlying aquifers. I rendered the map in pen and colored ink with watercolor, and applied digital type labels to save space.
The Blanco River also features Jacob Croft Botter’s wonderful photographs of the river and its geology, botany, and people.
Come join us for the book launch Saturday, April 8 (scroll down here for info). It’ll be a good time with great people, plus food, beer, live music, and art.